After 34 years here and four in the remote area …

Comment on Tourism: let the battle for the big spenders begin by Trevor Shiell.

After 34 years here and four in the remote area tourism area I think the planning authorities have missed the mark in focusing on the high yield end of the market, and are being slightly greedy.
One manager put it to me this way: I would rather have one client paying $1000 a night than 100 clients paying $10.
Less problems and easier money. They miss the point that 100 people coming here spend more money in associated businesses – food, entertainment, regional travel etc that one “high yielding” client.
The total return to the operator might be the same but the distribution of the economic activity is far more widely spread.
This is where we have gone wrong. On a recent trip South in May last year we encountered 374 vans heading North between here and Coober Pedy.
I wondered at the time how many of them actually saw the visitors centre in town or for that matter, went on straight through without being intercepted at all by the town.
Maybe they did not even know where it was. Signage at the same rock perhaps? Still conspicuous by its absence.
There are at least 10 items of interest to visitors between there and the Gap, only one of which is exploited, but we have a brand new row of back yard fences were we should have a vibrant display of everything we do here, advertising ourselves and who we are.
An unique environmentally sound village there would have been a hit, but no, we got a replica of anywhere else in Australia.
Similarly at round the same time I did a brief survey of the traffic flow around the welcome rock south of town and there were 102 people photographed on that rock in the several hours that I sat there.
It is so obvious that his is where the interception area for the “low yielding” visitors should have been and from there, directed to where we want the economic activity to be.
I believe the total benefits to the NT would and should have been far more substantial and widely distributed than a few high yielding people arriving at the five star end of the market which seems to be the ultimate aim of the marketing plan.
I have witnessed caravaners being fined for parking illegally while trying to access the Visitors centre.
These things spread very rapidly amongst the caravaning community. In January last year the ABC programme “Summer all over” ran a survey of what the travelling public want in a visitors centre.
The view was that the essentials were clean toilets and adequate parking. Ours has neither. The refusal of the planners in the industry to look at places such as McLaren Vale, in SA and in North Qld show just how far we are away from enticing travellers to stay here and investigate.
The signage here is appalling and again I invite the planners in the industry to look at SA and the signage around Lake Eyre Eyre and then look at what we offer here. (Anzac Hill!)
There are new attractions all over the world that could be staged here but are ignored. Japan has a 100 km student marathon attracting 80 million TV viewers.
Imagine that from Glen Helen to the Mall, but the planners show no interest in that free publicity when I explained it to them.
The recent sand castle building on the beach South of Adelaide could be replicated here in the Todd.
So the list goes on and will be so until the planners take off their blinkers and look around at where the real market is, and act accordingly.

Recent Comments by Trevor Shiell

NT should be the sun, wind powerhouse
China now has a ship laying out solar panels on an abandoned and flooded coal mine in Anhui province in Eastern China. It will be producing power for 35,000 homes as apart of supplying up to 11% of today’s energy requirements.
Yakindndra in Victoria is completely off grid and brought their own servo from the proceeds, while the Alkinos sub division in WA is completely independent of the grid.
It should have happened at Kilgariff, and the big green shed on the North Road is generating over half of its energy requirements every day.
No one seems to notice the row of inverters and batteries on the exit, nor do they seem to care. Where were we when all this was happening? Finke or the footy?
And what of our gas? The same company that has spent so much money in Darwin (Inplex) on their gas facility is now planning to build a much larger one in Indonesia!
Have we been taken advantage of yet again? And to rub further salt into the wound, Tesla claims a 2.1 year payback period on its newest electric truck and a 21% to 54% per km savings over diesel. What are we going to do when that arrives here? (
And Denmark runs its entire train system on wind power from the North Atlantic. What another huge win for Tennant Creek (potentially). What have we been doing?

NT should be the sun, wind powerhouse
So obvious, yet once more ignored.
The old Chrysler factory on South Road in Adelaide is now a potential producer of hydrogen claiming that their comparative advantage is the quality of the sunlight for electrolysis of water, while Toyota is marketing hydrogen powered cars.
In the mid 1980s the Frauhoffer Institute in Germany was looking to re locate their solar research facilities, but no one thought to invite them here.
Where were we when this happened?
Under a previous Labor administration here there was a document issued called Towards 2030.
In it I put a proposition that the north south rail be electrified using solar and wind and used as a conduit to export electricity interstate and provide a unique tourist experience of travelling across the continent on a solar powered train.
It got two lines of attention in the back of the document while the rest was social platitudes. There is an Australian company retrofitting shopping complexes with solar power right across Australia but was never invited here.
As nice as this place is to live we are still 20 years behind, and feel good social philosophies do not fill bellies or pay power bills.

Mating odour to catch feral cats
Last year I lost 16 prize chooks to wild dogs, and then the feral cats got in and took the replacement chickens.
Using the same cat trap and chook pellets I have caught 10 rabbits so far and fed them to the crocodile as dessert.
The ears from most of those cats have gone to genetic research interstate to trace their origin and hopefully to eventually research into reducing their numbers.
And with all the ferals we have here, I still don’t understand why the CRC for research into feral animal control appears to be based in Tasmania.
It obviously should be here, but we are further away by far, than the deer, goats etc which are right under the public and political eye.

Ted Egan: Forget splitting hairs, counting drops of blood.
Again we have looked around and ignored what we don’t want to see.
Having lived in a rural part of Fiji for many years, the efforts of the British there go largely unnoticed, and often criticised, as they do here.
The Brits stepped in in Fiji as requested by the chiefs and the first thing they did was to sit the chiefs who were at war down around a bowl of Kava and determined who owned which pieces of land traditionally.
This land ownership was then assigned to a common ancestor, (a “matangali”) and carefully recorded so everyone knew which family group they belonged to, and which piece of traditional land was theirs.
Now every child born with a common Fijian ancestor is recorded in a register as belonging to that piece of land and is recorded as “kai viti”.
My children were all born in that lovely country to my wife and I and are all “Kai loma” I am “Kai valangi” meaning to have come from another country and my wife is “Kai viti” having come from Fiji.
Kai loma (loma means inside) means between, or inside both and is a lovely way to describe people who are between as so many of us are.
Is that all too simple?
As a footnote my children are all eligible to claim ownership of their traditional land in Fiji but have chosen not to do so as land is scarce.
However, whenever we return their Fijian heritage makes them very comfortable.
There is a middle path, but for some reason it is sometimes ignored.

Four weeks to comment on fracking chaos
It is unfortunate that there has not been a delving into history and current short term politics has taken over.
In the seventies under Labor and Rex Connor there was a plan for a national gas grid linking the West and East.
It was scoffed at the time but it made so much common sense to link the Eastern demand with the Western resource. It still does.
There is no need for fracking at all here but the debate has been dominated by short term self interest, and now a large scale investment bank is on the track realising that the shortest way to link the two is via Brewer Estate and the existing pipe network. Hence their investment.
This is still 400 or 500 km shorter than through Moomba – a fact well recognised by the commercial interests.
There are already two possible sites for such a pipeline pencilled in.
We don’t need fracking at all, and the potential for a central industrial estate based at Brewer stands out but conveniently ignored for reasons unknown.

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